Next Level

6 athletes sign to play in college

The athletes prepare to sign their Letters of Intent.

Image by Bryanna Cao

The athletes prepare to sign their Letters of Intent.

It’s 8:15 in the morning. The tables are set up with letters of intent on top, pens ready by their side. Six athletes, three girls and three boys, feel that distinct mix of nervous and excited that comes with any milestone in life. For these seniors, today is more than an opportunity for free cake. Today, sitting behind their tables, these seniors are preparing for the next stage of their lives – college sports. It’s signing day.

Feb. 3 was National Signing Day, the first day that a senior can sign a binding Letter of Intent for a college sport. Six McNeil athletes participated in the event.

Three girls, D’Aishah Williams, Victoria Perez, and Jordan Stewart signed to play at the next level. Williams will play basketball at Wright State University, Perez will be a pitcher and outfielder for the East Texas Baptist University softball team, and Stewart will join the soccer team at West Texas A&M University.

“I committed a few days after my visit to ETBU,” Perez said. “I just knew that it was the right place for me. I loved the team, and the society and the environment that the college provided. Signing was an amazing experience because all my old teammates and friends were there, and my coaches, just to support me.”

Matt Wright, Hayden Cooper, and Tyler Mosley signed to play football with Navarro College, Oklahoma Panhandle State University, and Doane College, respectively.

“I felt relieved [to sign],” Cooper, who will play quarterback or wide receiver, said. “And kind of nervous at the same time.”

The seniors shared Cooper’s mixed feelings. Mosley, who will be an outside linebacker and study pre-vet, said that it was a great feeling to know that everything he’s worked for has paid off.

They also agreed that if a student wants to play college sports, he or she should go on as many visits possible, because they allow the athlete to see the coach, team, and campus.

“A couple weeks ago I went on a visit and I just knew [Doane] was the school for me,” Mosley said. “I felt a really friendly vibe from the town. And I felt like everyone wanted me to be there, so it was a good fit. I just really liked it.”

The road to signing is not easy. It takes patience and persistence. Cooper said it was “a weird process,” and Mosley said “there was a lot of waiting, sending your tapes out to everyone hoping someone will call you back.” Which college or university to sign with when there are multiple offers is another difficult decision.

“I would definitely keep an open mind,” Perez said. “I started getting a lot of offers the beginning of my senior year, but I didn’t sign or commit until later. Keep an open mind because a lot of offers could come in later when you least expect it.”

The six are looking forward to life on their own next year. For the rest of their senior year, they will celebrate their accomplishment and enjoy their last months of high school.

“Don’t get discouraged,” Mosley said. “There were times when I didn’t think I was going to get scholarships, or anything from anywhere but you know, you just got to stay at it. It will all work out in the end.”